WINNERS OF THE 2016 NEW BOOK AWARDS
THE APOSTLES OF SATAN
Caught up in the turbulent politics in the land of the Troubadours at the beginning of the 13th century, Olivier de Mazan discovers a secret that could change history. At the same time, corruption in the Roman Church and the subsequent rise of heresy has set off a chain of events that pits Olivier and his countrymen against crusaders from the North in a cruel war that threatens an entire civilization and is fought against the background of a long struggle between the dynasties of the Capets and the Plantagenets. The power-hungry prelate in charge of the Crusade seethes over papal restraints to his insatiable ambition, and schemes to gain control of Olivier's secret, stopping at nothing, not even murder, to get it. While Olivier battles to defend his country, he finds he must also protect his family from the ruthless churchman and his crusading minions. By opposing his going to war, his resolute wife, Micaela, adds yet another twist to the challenges Olivier faces.
The Apostles of Satan is the first book in a series, Ordeal by Fire. It has won the 2016 New Book Awards. For a historical background, scroll down.
THE FIERY FURNACE
As Olivier tries to evade the Inquisition and its secular thugs, Count Raimond of Toulouse and French Queen Blanche of Castille use the boudoir to pursue their own political aims. When a vengeful French baron attacks the castle of Olivier’s daughter, his grandsons, Odon and Rainier, set out for Montsegur, the dissidents' last refuge. Rainier turns back, determined to prevent his family’s capture, and runs into the son of Robin Hood, a soldier of fortune who takes Rainier under his wing. Odon goes on alone and meets the love of his life along the way. Both cousins are eventually reunited with their grandfather and their pretty cousin Miranda, who becomes attracted to Robin. As the dissidents' prospects of survival grow dim, they make plans to spirit their treasure, including Olivier's secret, off of the mountain and beyond reach of the French. Their only hope of not being burned alive is for Count Raimond to come to their rescue and lift the siege, but he is embroiled in protecting his dynasty from extinction.
The Fiery Furnace is the second novel in a series, Ordeal by Fire, and has also been named a New Books Awards winner. For historical background, scroll down
The Fiery Furnace Honorable Mention
2015 Reviewers Choice Award for Historical Fiction
THE MAGDALENE MALEDICTION
After French crusaders capture Montsegur, the heretics’ mountain fastness, the quartet of friends – cousins Odon and Rainier, the beautiful Miranda, and Robin, son of the famous English outlaw –escape and head for Provence. Odon carries the Magdalene scrolls that his grandfather entrusted to him. Fate, in the form of corsairs, puts them ashore in Moorish territory in Spain, hundreds of leagues to the south. While Miranda becomes entranced by the local wazir, called Al Azraq—the blue-eyed one -- her friends become embroiled in the political ambitions of Jacme I, King of Aragon, and end up taking sides in a conflict between the Moors and the Aragonese crusaders, The curse from the scrolls seems to come alive and threaten them all as the four fight for survival against foes old and new.